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Old 06-08-2011, 09:10 AM
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Default Time to Change The Play at the Plate

It's time for MLB to change the play at the plate rule and here's why.

1. The catcher is a sitting duck, standing stationary while the runner on the other hand has been running full speed around third, etc.

2. The play at the plate requires the catcher to focus on receiving the ball first before making a tag and therefore on bang-bang plays they don't have time to brace themselves for a full impact i.e. are prone to "blind-side" hits

3. The equipment for catchers is not adequate nor was it designed to absorb a collision

4. The play at the plate is not a fundamental part of the game, it happens sparingly and so a rule change is not akin to adding a 5th ball or 4th strike, etc.

5. There is a suitable alternative, quite simply the runner like at any other base has to slide and beat the tag. I suppose I could live with incidental contact at the plate or allowing ones legs to crash into the catcher but leaving your feet as a runner ala "superman" simply needs to go.

6. We know too much about concussions, coupled with the fact that today's athletes are stronger, faster means MLB and other major sports need to tweak rules accordingly

7. If you are a baseball traditionalist maybe this argument will work for you: the catching position will be filled with your weakest players as teams will not take the risk to put their talent behind the plate knowing they could get crushed/injured at a play at the plate
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Last edited by mintacular; 06-08-2011 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:17 AM
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Default not a bad argument but....

Not a bad argument but I don't think I would want the rules changed. There have been crashes at the plate for as long as I can remember. The catcher needs to be a big guy and he, and all players, know that inevitable major collisions are going to happen. It's part of the game. Kind of like the wrecks in car racing. (it's part of the spectacle) I have seen the collisions go both ways too. When the catcher is able to have time, many/most runners are no match for them. Good discussion though.....I might even change my mind if persuaded but those are my initial thoughts. regards
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:30 AM
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Not that I would be upset if there was a rule change, but I have to wonder if there would be this much of an uproar if this happened to Jose Molina, instead of Buster Posey.

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Old 06-08-2011, 09:31 AM
barrysloate barrysloate is offline
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Interesting topic, and one that has come to light since Buster Posey's season has come to an end.

Best argument for changing the rules would be the fair catch rule, which protects the kick returner from taking a blind hit. A catcher is equally vulnerable as he can't watch the throw and the runner at the same time.

Best argument against it is catchers would then block the plate entirely, and since the runner wouldn't be allowed to barrell in, he would probably remain on third base unless it was a slam dunk he could score. He would rarely or ever risk what might be a close play. And that would hurt the game.

Maybe there is some nuance they could come up with that would allow the catcher more protection without changing how the game is played.
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrysloate View Post
Interesting topic, and one that has come to light since Buster Posey's season has come to an end.

Best argument for changing the rules would be the fair catch rule, which protects the kick returner from taking a blind hit. A catcher is equally vulnerable as he can't watch the throw and the runner at the same time.

Best argument against it is catchers would then block the plate entirely, and since the runner wouldn't be allowed to barrell in, he would probably remain on third base unless it was a slam dunk he could score. He would rarely or ever risk what might be a close play. And that would hurt the game.

Maybe there is some nuance they could come up with that would allow the catcher more protection without changing how the game is played.

Well, they are talking about the catcher not being able to block the plate at all. He would have to apply a sweep tag, just like every other baseman.

No barrelling into the catcher and the catcher gets called for interference if he blatantly blocks the plate.
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:53 AM
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Default and...

and since I don't keep up with any new, professional sports I am unaware of this current Buster situation. My comments were general in nature.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:16 AM
steve B steve B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D. Bergin View Post
Well, they are talking about the catcher not being able to block the plate at all. He would have to apply a sweep tag, just like every other baseman.

No barrelling into the catcher and the catcher gets called for interference if he blatantly blocks the plate.
There's plenty of force plays at second where some partial blocking goes on. And completely blocking the plate is already supposed to be against the rules, it's just not enforced.

I think a change in equipment or actually enforcing the current rules as written would be better than a change in rules. (Also make the middle infielders actually be on second while holding the ball during double plays)

Anyone who plays catcher has to be durable. They also have to know when to take a hit and when to move. I ended up being the catcher for the softball team I was on because the other two guys got hurt In consecutive innings. One left a foot on the plate like a first baseman and got a broken ankle for his trouble (Should have been blocking or moving instead of stretching) The other took a foul tip in a very uncomfortable spot. After a couple games I stopped wearing the chest protector and shin guards as it was just too big a nuisance getting them on and off. 4 years- 0 collisions. Maybe a couple guys that didn't try to score because they didn't want a collision with a guy that wouldn't wear the pads.

Requiring better pads or just allowing better pads - Like the better helmets/faceguards and the throat protectors that became common after that one guy took a chunk of broken bat in the throat- That should help a lot.

Steve B
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:16 AM
barrysloate barrysloate is offline
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Dave- having the catcher not be able to block the plate would be a whole lot safer but would change how one aspect of the game is played. Maybe they will try it next year in spring training.

Leon- Buster Posey is one of the rising stars in baseball and went last year from an unknown minor leaguer to a star of the world champion Giants. His season ended a couple of weeks ago when he both broke his ankle and tore ligaments in a home plate collision.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrysloate View Post
Leon- Buster Posey is one of the rising stars in baseball and went last year from an unknown minor leaguer to a star of the world champion Giants. His season ended a couple of weeks ago when he both broke his ankle and tore ligaments in a home plate collision.
In fantasy baseball circles, he wasn't an unknown minor leaguer. In fact, he was so highly touted that he was protected in quite a few keeper leagues when he was in Single A!
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:42 AM
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Since the catcher could not be barreled into, I believe the other part of the rule change would prohibit the catcher from standing right in front of the base. Thus the runner would have an opportunity to realistically slide and the catcher would have to catch ball in a zone above plate and sweep tag runner....

Buster Posey is a very talented player so if it takes him to get injured to reconsider the rule than so be it....

Anyone who plays catcher has to be durable. They also have to know when to take a hit and when to move. --if you look at the Posey play again, Posey was actually positioned above plate and Cousins the Marlin's player (within the current rules) could've slid across the heart of the plate but instead went air-born and basically ended Posey's season with that decision to do so...I'm also not sure how the Posey incident has anything to do about being "durable"--the injury he sustained was not a chronic injury, etc. and no amount of durability or physical training could've prevented his injury

I believe the NFL used to allow "close-line" tackles and this change in the rules has made the game safer without taking the physicality out of it.
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Last edited by mintacular; 06-08-2011 at 10:44 AM.
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